Monday, October 17, 2016

Who is Exploiting the "Digital Divide?"

Per the ADK Daily Enterprise, U. S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is touting a new program to bring high speed internet access to rural areas. Bi-partisan support is expected. Congressional Candidate Martin Babinec also promotes the idea.

Using Democrat/RINO Republican-style identity politics that divides us into groups, Mr. Babinec cites a "digital-divide" between urban and rural areas where 74% of urban households have access to high-speed internet as compared with 64% in rural areas, raising fears of stunted educational and business development outcomes. (Somehow 74% to 64% does not sound like much of a divide, but if it makes some people jealous or envious and gets their vote, it works politically).

Obviously someone has to pay for these schemes.

Left on its own, the market will extend broadband to rural areas when there are sufficient customers willing to pay the necessary costs to put it there.

Gillibrand and Babinec propose to give a few people something for nothing. These proposals encourage waste, requiring the subsidy of service where it is not self-sustaining. (This is no different than "regionalizing" the water system in Utica, a topic exhaustively covered by this blog over many years).

To the extent the rural broadband proposals are intended to "promote economic growth," they contravene "smart growth" principles by encouraging "growth" (or urban sprawl) on locations where where additional services (such as water, sewer, roads, police and fire protection) will be demanded. Most likely the taxpayers will contribute to construct the system,  and existing broadband customers will have their monthly bills increased to maintain it.

The proposals of Ms. Gillibrand and Mr. Babinec are socialist, redistributionist solutions that will increase all our costs to benefit a few users, but, important for the politicians, benefit politically-connected contractors.  If you want to know who these contractors might be, read the two links above and read in between the lines.  Several technology companies have signed onto Ms. Gillibrand's proposal. Mr. Babinec is pushing a "digital curriculum" that would seem to appeal to the same technology and education companies who are behind Common Core.

If high speed internet is important to your family or your business, then look for a city that has it!


Anonymous said...

Farming is an industry that is ever increasingly reliant on technology and connectivity to survive. Farms by their very nature cannot be located in highly populated areas. Farmers can't wait for market pressure to bring them an internet connection. They'll never be in densely populated areas. Like the spread of electricity, the spread of broadband is essential to economic stability for those of us dependent on farming. That, of course, means all of us who eat.

Anonymous said...

MR Farmer,
Ever hear of Hughes Satellite internet service? You will have to pay the costs associated with the service.but perhaps a government farm subsidy check will cover your expense.

Anonymous said...

Satellite service is inconsistent and slow. But you're saying it's good enough for a major industry in our area? Broadband should be considered as much of utility as electricity and managed and regulated similarly. Farming is not the only industry we need for economic stability that we also prefer to have located in areas of small population.

Anonymous said...

The only valid comment is that a 10% "divide" is not a divide. It is certainly not one that requires yet more government subsidy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #1. Is electricity subsidized? I have not noticed that mine is.